Departing academy coach Dmitri Halajko has named five youngsters he believes will be the next homegrown West Ham first team stars.
West Ham are the self-styled Academy of Football.
And with good reason.
The Hammers have produced a stream of top players for club and country over the years. From the days of Bobby Moore and Sir Trevor Brooking through to the likes of Tony Cottee.
Most notable for the modern fan is the so-called golden generation which included the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe and Glen Johnson.
Throw in the likes of John Terry, Ledley King and other stars who started life in West Ham’s academy and it is clear to see why the Hammers production line is so famous.
Mark Noble, Declan Rice and Ben Johnson are continuing West Ham’s proud tradition under David Moyes.
Sonny Perkins was the latest Academy starlet to be handed his West Ham debut in the win over Rapid Wien in the Europa League on Thursday night.
The man who knows Perkins and the other rising stars in the West Ham academy better than most is Dmitri Halajko.
The Hammers U23s coach left the club last week to take up a role with the Premier League.
And speaking in an interview with The Athletic, Halajko named five youngsters he believes will be West Ham stars.
Departing coach Dmitri Halajko names five youngsters he believes will be West Ham stars
“I’m telling you now, there’s more coming,” Halajko bullishly told The Athletic.
“Jamal Baptiste plays for England Under-19s, Perkins plays for the under-18s and in the younger age groups, you have Oliver Scarles and Lewis Orford. So in most age groups for England, there’s West Ham representation. That shows the depth we have…
“Loads of the players have made their first-team debuts under Moyes, which I’m incredibly proud of. The group chat went crazy when Dan Chesters made his first-team debut. Armstrong Oko-Flex is a brilliant finisher and I can see him scoring goals at first-team level…
“The academy is in a great place — there are so many top players coming through. So my message to the players is to back yourself because I know you can do it.”
West Ham fans will know all about Baptiste and now Perkins too.
But this may be the first many are hearing about Scarles and Orford.
It is interesting to see Halajko mention Oko-Flex too as many Hammers fans feel he could end up forcing his way in and around the first team having joined from Celtic.